It’s not always shoreleave day for seafarers whenever they dock into ports. Most of the time, they are busy, tired or saving their money for the family. Every time I invite my fellow seaman to hit for the nearest mall, I always get one of these replies on why they don’t want to go ashore.
1. Video Call With Family
“My wife is waiting for me so I must be online after my watch.” says my crew mate.
Even if the port is actually interesting or near, it won’t be so enticing for a seaman if he misses his family. There is also another “term” seafarers use to keep them excited on their next chat with her and that is, “sisilip kay Misis!”
2. Avoid Temptation
The most effective way to avoid temptation is to not expose yourself to them. A seaman’s life is hard and looking at pretty girls on pubs could “heat up” his engines. To stay faithful, seafarers avoid the lure of going for a shoreleave.
That’s right. The right seaman will find ways to avoid temptation even if you don’t see him.
3. Saving Money
Or in the most precise term, “deep financial needs” (matinding pangangailingan pre). Even if seafarers are earning much, they always save their money on board for their family. Tuition fees, house payments, medical expenses, car loans or anything that their family needs is always prioritized than their own.
4. Too Expensive
Sometimes, even if a seaman creates a budget for shore leave, he usually pulls the plug after knowing that a one way ride to the city costs 20 Euros by taxi. That’s already too much especially if you are going alone.
But if the budget is higher, then why not?
5. Rest Hours
After a long pilotage, seafarers usually find themselves tired and beaten up. Then when on berth, they too must also perform watches during the whole operation. The worst that could happen is when bunkering, stores, provisions, inspections, and service technicians arrive on the same day. This is one of the most tiring moments every seaman experiences.
6. No Cash Advance
There are times when the Captain or the company only allows a certain amount for maximum cash advance and schedules it twice or once a month. If the ship visits many interesting ports in a single month or if they send money to their family through off signers, seafarers could find their shore leave budget dry. They have to wait the next month before they could get another cash advance from the ship.
7. Strict Ports and Terminals
Not all places welcome seafarers with happy smiles, hugs and handshakes. There are ports which have very high requirements before they can go ashore. Take for example in the US. You won’t be allowed to tread American soil even on the jetty when you don’t have a US Visa.
8. Very Short Port Stay
Another reason seafarers do not go ashore is the very quick cargo operation. It could last from three hours, six hours, to twenty four hours. There could only be a few containers needed to load or the loading rate is very fast and another ship is awaiting next to them. Since shipping nowadays is making fast businesses, being on schedule is paramount to charterers and ship operators.
9. Far From Civilization
A ship could stay in a port for a day, a week or sometimes, a month. But not all ports are near to the city and this is mostly experienced by tanker vessels. The nearest town could be found ten or twenty kilometers away and you have to walk a few kilometers to the taxi or bus station.
Tanker ships of various sizes especially VLCCs and ULCCs seldom berth near the shore but is usually found conducting their operations at sea. The only way to go ashore is by helicopter which is quicker but very costly on the company’s side, or a service boat but takes three or more hours to reach the shore.
By the time they reach land, seafarers are already tired and beaten up by the waves during the long travel.
10. Unfamiliar Ports
When traveling first time on a port, a seafarer’s first concern is his safety. If he is not familiar with the port or the locals around does not speak English, then going ashore is not an option. He could get lost and going back to the ship is a very big problem.
Accounting a bad experience in a particular port also creates fear of going ashore. After hearing this kind of story, a seaman’s desire for a shoreleave usually turns cold.
These are the most common reasons seafarers do not go ashore when asked or invited. Most of the time, it’s about family matters.
Do you have special reasons on why you don’t want to go ashore?
May the winds be on your favor.